Friday, 24 January 2014

Frugal Friday...

Following on from last year's "Frugal February" challenge, I was keen to do something similar again this year. the charm of choosing February last year was that we had very few things planned to do during the month, so it lent itself well to doing a "low-spend" challenge. It highlighted to me how often we do just "fritter" - although in our case I mean not that mindless spending of money on things which simply aren't needed, but more the thing of wandering in to 99p Stores, B&M bargains, or over to the market, and coming away with genuine bargains, but that we wouldn't have missed had we not have bought them.

Looking to refill these...
This year we already seem to have several things planned during the month, and also want to focus on our walking - which in itself requires a degree of extra spend on travel etc - so we've come up with the idea of doing "Frugal Food February" - my intention is to see just how little actual cash we can part with from 1st - 28th February for our grocery shopping.

The plan is this:
From the 1st to the 28th of February we will:
- Eat so far as we possibly can from the freezer, storecupboard, larder etc.
- Aim to buy so far as possible only fresh dairy, fruit and veg. There may be the occasional loaf of bread from our lovely local posh bakers though!
- Not be tempted to wander into 99p stores, B&M Bargains or over to the market "just for a browse"
- Stick with our originally declared goal of cooking at least one brand new-to-us recipe each month
-Spend as little overall as we can manage, but also...
- ...spend as little actual cash as we possible can. (Money spent on our "Clubcard Plus" account will count as cash, for the purposes of this)
- As ever through this year, one week's shopping will be "supermarket free" - we'll have no option but to use cash that week

We have - as ever - a few tools lined up in the armoury to help:
- £10 of Morrisons vouchers gained through buying our fuel for the cars there - there may be an additional £5 voucher to come during the month too
- £5 (approx) of Nectar Points for use in Sainsburys
- £15 of luncheon vouchers earned through a survey site - these can be used at Tesco (I think) Sainsburys and other supermarkets
- £10 M&S Voucher earned when we took out an insurance policy last year

We need to do a proper audit of our freezers to remind ourselves what we have. We've got ingredients in to make our "regular" breakfasts of muffins or flapjacks, and I have a meal plan already sketched out although this might be subject to change depending on what we decide needs using up. We've got good supplies of pasta, rice, couscous and similar, so are well served for various starches. We have meat in the freezers - including the last of last year's lamb, and we also have plentiful amounts of pulses and similar for alternatives on meat-free days. in the fridge there is still quite a bit of cheese from our fabulous haul at the Good Food Show. The storecupboard shows lots of jams, jellies, chutneys etc - some made by us and many more by Mum-in-Law - these can be added to other dishes, and there must be the makings there of a decent number of puddings too - jam sponges, jam tarts, rice pudding with jam....! I'll be looking to make more pate for lunches - mackerel and salmon are favourites you might remember from last year, but I'll also check out prices for chicken livers too - chicken liver pate made with just a splash of brandy is glorious! MrEH is quite happy with jam butties for lunch some days, and I'm equally happy with cheese and chutney, so there's another assault on the storecupboard right there! we'll focus also on using up all those part used jars, packets and pots that have been hanging around for ages and really need using up.

The hope is that by the end of the month not only will our freezer, fridge, cupboards and larder be emptier, but our bank accounts will be fuller too.

So - who else is planning a "Frugal February" of any sort? Even in households where every day life is pretty frugal anyway sometimes a challenge of this sort can just act as a boost to your motivation - and a re-focus of "why" or "getting the best from it". There were quite a number of us joining ion last year and it would be great fun to hear of others planning to do something similar again! Look for my week one update post coming up in a fortnight.



Scarlet said...

Count me in Robyn. February's menu plan is already done, and on paper I hardly need to buy anything. Any money not spent is money towards those radiators - I'm definitely a woman on a mission where they are concerned!

Anonymous said...

I need some kind of frugality this February, although I'm not sure food is the thing for us as we're pretty frugal anyway when it comes to food shopping, and I don't do most of it!

Will have a think - I've done quite a bit of buying snacks at work, or little bits and pieces here and there, or the odd taxi, so there's definitely things to cut!

Robyn said...

Scarlet glad you're joining in - although your food spends are already awesomely low!
Cheery - how about "Fritter-Free February" then? I'm hoping that there will be a degree of that in ours, too!